Catastrophe Fatigue

Roland Stahl
April, 2020

     Do we need any more canaries in the coal mine to tell us that life on this planet is breaking down?  What astonishes me the most is that no one seems to have any plan at all.  All of the changes that anyone is calling for are just ineffective band-aids, while the patient is massively hemorrhaging in extremis.  

     We need systemic change because the problems are systemic.  Why is it that countries like China and South Korea are able to manage the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, while the United States is caught totally flat-footed and helpless?  The reason is that in the Land of the Free it is every man for himself (aka “every person for her/him/other-self”).  The United States is a country of Free Enterprise, in which everyone seeks to increase hx personal wealth through some enterprise.  So, everything that happens in this country happens in pursuance of a profit motive, and it never occurs to anyone to consider the common good or anything else.  

     The evidence is in ~ the profit motive of Capitalism does not work effectively to promote the biological health of the planet, including the trees, other plants, animals, and people.  This is not a new idea.  One reason why so many people are drawn to the extremities of war, rebellion, revolution, or the promises of communism is that there is widespread understanding that the present Establishment of Money and Power is only concerned with preserving and increasing its wealth and its power, and is not concerned at all about anything else.  

     That has got to go.

     That sounds like a call to revolution.  Thomas Jefferson figured out that we need a revolution every twenty-seven years to clear out the accumulated deadwood.  But seizing the wealth of the Few and dividing it up among the Many has never worked out well.  After a reshuffle, it may only be that the Few consist of a different four hundred families than formerly, in the ancien régime.  You throw out the rascals, and a new set of rascals come in.  

     But my solution (of entrusting the sovereign authority to a special school who will themselves choose their spokesperson to hold the Chair at the apex of the pyramid of authority) is not only a political one ~ it is also, and fundamentally, an economic one.  

     I am proposing a whole new understanding of the meaning and purpose of “money,” where it comes from, and where it goes.  In my view, the principle function of the Advocate for the Tree (or whomever is selected by the special seminary) will be to direct the flow of money as needed to advance the health and prosperity of the planet, its trees, and its animals, including people.  Money would thus constantly be created as it flows out from the Advocate through the Bank to fund everything of value and importance ~ schools, hospitals, education, health, research ~ and offering employment to anyone who wants to work planting trees.  The Bank wouldn’t be the institution to which (and to whom) you owe money ~ the Bank would be the place where money comes from.  

     Free Farms would be funded immediately, everywhere in the world.  So much of the world’s problems comes down to poverty and basic hunger.  Nearly half the population of the earth live within sight of the edge of starvation.  For over forty years I have been saying that the cheapest way to deal with the problem of hungry people is to feed them.  So, all over the earth, wherever there are hungry people, we should set up free farms, where anyone can go and live for free.  Money would go out from the Bank to pay farmers for their food, and any other expenses of the free farm.  Trains and buses should all be maintained, fully funded, as a free public service.  

     And where does it go?  Just as Thomas Jefferson understood so long ago, with the passage of time, there is an inevitable tendency for the wealth and the power to be accumulated in ever fewer hands.  So, for any economist in the house, all you have to do to keep the currency viable and to retain a stable value is to draw off from the top as much as you need in taxation of the rich (property tax plus resource depletion tax) to maintain the money supply within an optimum range.  Taxes will be something only rich people pay.  So, you might call this a Trickle-Up economic proposal and theory.  The government provides massive services to the general public, from the Free Farms, where all meals and housing are free for anyone, to non-profit food stores, free public transit, free education, free health care ~ and then the Market is out there to hoover up all of that money out there and trickle it up to their bosses at the top.  

     So, the central Bank, which is the source of money for everything, authorized by the Advocate or other trustee, simply scoops it off the top in taxation as fast as it spreads new money out to the level of the general public, thus providing a constant leveling influence upon the Jefferson Effect.  

     So, getting down to cases, let us compare health care in the United States, where it is not only a for-profit industry, but one which is so successful that Americans pay more for health care than anywhere else in the world (with only medium to poor health result).  Here and now, dealing with a public health emergency, the System just breaks down, because the problems don’t fit their paradigm.  

     So, under the beneficial guidance of our Advocate for the Tree at the Bank, what might happen during a pandemic outbreak?  First, the advice for everyone would be to quit work and go home, avoiding any personal contact, until the extent of the pandemic can be assessed and managed.  Essential activities, like food distribution, would be voluntary, and come with generous hazard pay.  Immediate orders would go out for all testing equipment, PPEs or whatever are needed, paying double price or more for emergency and urgent basis.  Then, for the entire duration of this prophylactic lockdown, everyone would simply be given funding as needed by the Bank to cover existing needs.  All of this would be automatic, going through your account at the Bank.  Two or three months of lockdown should be enough to limit the outbreak, as they did in China.  Then everyone slowly begins to resume life again, although it will never be like it was before, ever again.  

     No, from now until life finally dies out on the planet, our prospects for survival will be ever more grim.  That is why it is surprising to me that no one seems to have any kind of plan.  Everyone just seems to accept the end of life, as in, “Well, what can you do?”  

     Feed the hungry people, and plant trees.

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